Japan marks joining the ASPIRE partnership with a trans-Pacific emissions reduction demonstration flight
Japan Airlines Boeing 777 Eco Jet
Wed 14 Oct 2009 – Japan has become the first Asian country to join the Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE), which is designed to make aircraft operations in the region more efficient in order to reduce aviation greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement was signed in Osaka by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Randy Babbitt and Ryuhei Maeda, Director General of the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB). The occasion was marked by an ASPIRE demonstration flight from Honolulu to Osaka undertaken by Japan Airlines (JAL). Japan joins the FAA, Airservices Australia and Airways New Zealand in the partnership that began in February 2008.
“This is an important milestone in our collective effort to lessen aviation’s environmental footprint,” said Babbitt. “We have all pledged to adopt and promote best practices that will benefit the environment.”
The demonstration flight aimed to reduce emissions and to save time and fuel by utilizing the most efficient, advanced technologies and procedures. These include procedures such as just-in-time refuelling, using preferred routes over the ocean, optimizing speed and altitude and using a tailored-arrival approach to the destination airport.
Goals of the partnership include identifying and sharing procedures that produce environmental benefits, quantifying green enhancements in the region over the last decade, and establishing fuel and emissions baselines for current operations, along with future performance benchmarks.
There have been three previous ASPIRE flights over the Pacific, which took place during late 2008, involving Air New Zealand, Qantas and United Airlines.
According to the FAA, an Air New Zealand Boeing 777 flying from Auckland to San Francisco last September saved 7,700 pounds (3.18kg) of fuel and 27,700 pounds (12.25kg) of carbon dioxide. A Quantas Airbus A380 flying from Los Angeles to Melbourne last October saved 19,600 pounds of fuel (8.62kg) and 61,700 pounds (27.67kg ) of carbon dioxide, and a United Boeing 747 flying from Sydney to San Francisco last November saved 10,500 pounds (4.54kg) of fuel and 33,100 pounds (14.97kg) of carbon dioxide.
In August 2008, JAL started trials of the User Preferred Route system, which enables more efficient routing of aircraft, on flights between Japan and Hawaii.
The User Preferred Route (UPR) planning system plots a unique flight path for each aircraft instead of following the conventional approach of flying along predetermined aviation routes set by air traffic controllers. Depending upon the prevailing weather conditions at the time, UPR allows an airline to fly along what it judges to be the most efficient route for each type of aircraft used. The system helps to improve operational efficiency by providing each aircraft with an optimal flight path and shortened flight times.
According to JAL, technical advances in aircraft devices and ATC systems have made it easier to more accurately pinpoint an aircraft’s position in the air. The trials followed continuous safety examinations of using UPR on Japan-Hawaii routes that have been conducted by the FAA and JCAB since November 2007.